Iamthecheese.jpgI Am the Cheese opens with Adam Farmer riding his bike. He carries a package for his father and needs to get it to him fast. So far, it's a perfectly harmless adventure story.

But something is strange about this bike trip. First of all, Adam's father is far away. To get to him, Adam must ride from Massachusetts to Vermont, on a kid's bike with a single speed. Can you even do that? He's just begun, and he's already exhausted. The troubling questions come flooding in. Why is Adam alone? What's going to happen when it gets dark?

I Am the Cheese made me worry. I was 12, and until then, books were to be trusted, and their stories — the plots and characters — were exactly as they seemed. Had I heard of unreliable narrators? I had not. Did it occur to me that someone roughly my age could be separated from his parents, forced to make an impossible journey back to them? It did not. So I read it and I worried, and I couldn't put it down. I Am the Cheese became a nail-biter about my own survival. Somehow, within just a few pages, the author Robert Cormier had transformed me into Adam Farmer. I was on that bike, pedaling furiously, and I had better get back to my parents before the night turned cold.

Ben Marcus


1. Read the book, and as you begin to read, ask yourself what is on Adam's mind as he prepares for his bike trip and what glimpses into his character does he give you as a first person narrator. What are his fears? Why does he react as suspiciously to situations as he does? Why does he need to get to Rutterburg, Vermont, with the package for his father? Why is he alone? How many points of view do you see?

2. If you do not know the nursery rhyme, "The Farmer in the Dell", look it up on Google. What meaning does it hold for this book? What might the connection be for the title?

3. Respond to the questions for reaction as they are posted on Google Docs.

4. Complete a plot map and a project.
Project choices-- choose one of the following:
  • a book folder
  • a book mosaic
  • a setting map
  • a trailer

5. Bring your project and plot sheet to school and be ready to have some "book talk" with the group.